Wayne Chism, who had stints with NLEX and Magnolia in PBA, leads the way for Bahrain.
He became an instant impact for Bahrain, leading the team to its first victory in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers.
The 6-foot-8 forward out of Tennessee, who has been a naturalized player for Bahrain since 2018, put up 20 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks in its 76-67 win over Syria on Friday at Hamadaniyeh Stadium in Aleppo.
The triumph kept Bahrain’s hopes of progressing to the second round of the qualifiers as it forced a tie for third place with Syria with 1-4 win-loss cards.
Bahrain will face Kazakhstan, while Syria will meet Iran on Monday.
Chism has been a fixture in the Bahraini Premier League, winning the cup with Al-Manama in 2018 before also having stints with Magnolia as a replacement for Justin Jackson and signing with Hekmeh BC in Lebanon and Al Wahda in Saudi Arabia.
As Fiba Asia Cup nears, Kai Sotto still left undecided for the Gilas Pilipinas, although the team is keeping its fingers crossed.
National head coach Chot Reyes said the door remains very much open for the 7-foot-4 Sotto to join Gilas in the July 12 to 24 meet in Indonesia.
So far, no official statement has been released by Sotto’s handlers with less than a week left before the Summer League kicks off in Las Vegas.
“Well, they (Sotto camp) will have to decide in two days’ time. So far we haven’t heard from them,” said Reyes on Friday.
“But we still have our standing offer to them,” added the Gilas coach, who also stands as the country’s basketball program director. “Sana nga maglaro siya.”
Sotto coming over and playing with a hybrid Gilas team is part of the process of preparing the Filipinos for next year’s FIBA World Cup.
His presence should also be an added boost to a Gilas side that is cramping in training for its campaigns in both the World Cup qualifiers and Asia Cup.
The Filipinos are arriving from New Zealand on Friday night after losing to the Tall Blacks, 106-60.
They are set to play India on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena, take a two-day rest, and then begin training for the Asia Cup.
“That’s all part of the process. Kailangan masanay yung young ones natin to play quality competition like that because that’s just going to help them and prepare them for the bigger task at hand,” added Reyes.
Gilas versus New Zealand recap…
GILAS Pilipinas still could not solve the puzzle that was New Zealand as it tasted a bitter 106-60 defeat Thursday at Eventfinda Stadium in Auckland to suffer its second loss in the 2023 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers.
Struggling to find the bottom of the net, the Filipinos stared at an early 13-point hole, 23-10, and never recovered as the Tall Blacks continued to hammer down on the visitors and stretched the lead to 16, 47-21, at the half.
That lead would grow to its biggest at 46 points thanks to Flynn Cameron’s layup in the last 1:41.
Carl Tamayo was one of the few positives for Gilas with his 16 points and five rebounds, but sprained his ankle with 7:50 remaining in the game.
Rhenz Abando seized 11 points, and Francis Lopez got eight in the defeat as the Philippines shot 33-percent from the field and a horrid 4-of-26 shooting from distance.
The Philippines now dropped to 1-2, although the result of this game hardly mattered as it already gained a spot in the second round of the qualifiers after Korea’s disqualification from Group A.
Gilas now heads home to end the first round when it faces India this Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
New Zealand, on the other hand, ended its first round assignments undefeated at 4-0. It will now await the pairings for the next phase, with the top three teams in Group C forming the Group E for the next round.
Dion Prewster led New Zealand’s balanced attack with 15 points with five other players scoring in double figures.
Finn Delany got 14 points and seven rebounds, as Jordan Ngatai and Ethan Rusbatch both scored 12 in the win.
New Zealand 106 – Prewster 15, Delany 14, Ngatai 12, Rusbatch 12, Webster 11, Ili 10, Vodanovich 8, Britt 7, Cameron 6, Smith-Milner 5, Timmins 4, Harris 2.
Philippines 60 – Tamayo 16, Abando 11, Lopez 8, Ramos 6, Ravena 6, Quiambao 4, Belangel 3, Chiu 2, Navarro 2, Abarrientos 2, Ildefonso 0.
Quarters: 23-13, 47-21, 73-43, 106-60.